The Mesquite City Council granted a conditional business license to Deep Roots Harvest to sell wholesale and retail recreational marijuana at its dispensary during the Tuesday, July 11 council meeting.

The action, passed unanimously without much fanfare, follows a contentious council meeting on June 27 regarding licensing issues for recreational marijuana which was scheduled for public sale beginning July 1.

Councilman David Ballweg had placed a resolution on the council’s June 27 meeting agenda that would have imposed a moratorium on the sales of recreational marijuana until such time as the city council approved ordinances related to the sales no later than 90 calendar days after the state issued its regulations.

Ballweg argued that without proper ordinances in place the city had no authority to collect fees or taxes associated with the recreational sales like it has with medical marijuana. Without those ordinances, Ballweg said “we are ignoring the basic concepts of oversight into the sale and control of marijuana.”

However, after Ballweg made a motion to approve the resolution, it died for lack of a second. That opened the door for recreational marijuana sales to begin on July 1 in Mesquite. Technically, the city could not collect a three percent fee associated with any of those sales. Several of the councilmen agreed that they were okay without collecting fees for approximately one month until the proper ordinances and regulations could be put in place.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the council approved using a newly passed ordinance for conditional business licenses that allowed the city to collect the fees associated with those sales.

Councilman George Rapson, who sponsored the agenda item, said that Deep Roots volunteered to pay the three percent fee on all sales beginning July 1, even though technically they were not required to do so. “I don’t know if that’s a practicality based on the separation of inventory or just out of the goodness of their heart. It doesn’t really matter,” Rapson said.

Ballweg, long an opponent to any marijuana sales, pointed out that the conditional business license mechanism was “my invention. I’m glad we are able to use it for this. This is the regulation that we needed all along” to govern marijuana sales.

The conditional business license mechanism was approved by the council May 23 and immediately used to grant a liquor license for the new Eagles Landing convenience store at I-15 Exit 118. Without that, the c-store would have been limited to beer and wine sales only.

Richard Secrist, Development Services Director, assured the council his department would be back with a proposed permanent ordinance governing all aspects of recreational marijuana sales within 90 days.

City Attorney Bob Sweetin reminded the council that should the dispensary violate any ordinances or laws now in place, they retain the right to immediately review and possibly revoke the conditional business license.

“Deep Roots has been a very good business partner. They have followed all state regulations and local laws,” Sweetin said.

The license was approved on a 5-0 vote.

Representatives with Deep Roots Harvest told the Mesquite Local News that the dispensary served 490 customers the first day of recreational marijuana sales on July 1 and 1,200 customers the first four days of the month. That compares to 60 to 70 customers the dispensary was serving on a typical day. The company would not disclose actual dollar sales during the period.